"Smart" fridges

"Smart" fridges that stay cool by talking to each other, run on renewable electricity (photovoltaics, wind turbines) and are capable of negotiating the most energy efficient way to keep food cold have been developed by researchers from CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship. The fridges work as a network of distributed fridges, each with control technology that allows them to communicate with each other via a network to share and store the energy provided by renewable-power generators. The fridges work together to decide when to cool down, and thus consume power, based on how much surplus power will be available. They anticipate power shortages and change their running schedules accordingly to use as little power as possible during these times. The fridges can also store energy: the surplus electricity produced by solar panels can be used to lower the fridge temperature a few degrees more than necessary to create a thermal energy store which will keep the fridge's contents cold during the night. CSIRO emphasizes that using less electricity is always preferable to generating more and is the simplest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CSIRO is currently seeking commercial partners to further develop the technology.